Apple Unveils Video Streaming and News Services to Run on Its Devices

In a keynote address on Monday at the company’s Cupertino campus, Apple announced a slew of new services. Apple News+ will offer a subscription service to access magazines, digital news outlets and some newspapers. Apple Card is, well, an Apple credit card. Apple Arcade is a subscription service for video games. And Apple TV+ will be an entirely new streaming service touting some incredible amounts of talent.

Below is our liveblog of today’s even as it happened. To start from the beginning, scroll all the way down and work your way back up.

One More Thing: Oprah

 
 

2:41 Oprah is coming to Apple TV+. Apple is positioning her as the most necessary voice in finding common ground in a world that has become increasingly divided. “The Apple platform allows me to do what I do in a whole new way,” she says. “They’re in a billion pockets, ya’ll.” Oprah says she has two documentaries in the works. One, “Toxic Labor,” will examine harassment in the workplace. The other is a multi-part series on mental health. She’s also going to bring back her book club with live-streaming sessions with authors.

In some ways it’s sort of weird to hear Oprah’s open embrace of a massive company, but it’s also reassuring that she acknowledges the opportunity of partnering with a massive company to spread her undeniably important message of unity.

Apple TV+

 
 

2:38 Finally, some details. It’s coming this fall. No details on pricing, but it’ll be a subscription service where everything is downloadable and viewable offline.

 

2:35 Here’s a bunch of names to show you how much money Apple is throwing behind their show lineup on Apple TV+. 

 

2:31 The show announcements keep on coming. Here’s JJ Abrams and Sara Bareilles talking about “Little Voice.” It’s about a young musician in New York finding “herself and her true voice.” 

 

2:28 Well, here’s Big Bird. There’s going to be a “Sesame Street” spin-off on Apple TV called “The Helpsters.” It’s a children’s show about learning how to code. “By teaching preschoolers about coding we’re giving them the opportunity to change the world.” If you’ve been to San Francisco recently, I think you know what power coding has to “change” the world.

 

2:22 Kumail Nanjiani is here too. He’s talking about his experiences of emigrating from Pakistan to America. His show, “Little America,” will tell “human stories that feature immigrants.” His goal is to tell stories about immigrants that, hopefully, stops the othering that other stories about exceptional immigrants perpetuate. It honestly sounds refreshing! “There is no such thing as the other,” says Nanjiani. “There is only us.”

 

2:19 Here’s Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard introducing “See.” It’s about… seeing things?

 

2:16 Oh, here’s Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. They’re going to be starring in “The Morning Show” — which sounds like a sitcom examination of gendered roles in the workplace. Steve Carell is going to be in it as well. 

2:15 Oh, I guess Spielberg is rebooting “Amazing Stories” for Apple TV+. 

 

2:13 Here’s Steven Spielberg to tell us what Apple TV+ is all about. He’s talking about himself, reading Amazing Stories magazine.

 

2:09 Now they’re playing a trailer where a bunch of Hollywood folks are telling me about telling great stories. I still have no idea what Apple TV+ actually is? It feels like an ad for a Masterclass.

 

2:08 On top of all the streaming services you can access in the Apple TV app, Apple wants you to check out one more: Apple TV+. What is it? Well, three different dudes are telling me, a journalist, that great stories can change the world.

Apple TV App

2:02 The Apple TV app will be coming to the Mac, smart TV, and streaming devices like Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV. All of this will be available starting in May. 

 

1:57 The updated Apple TV app will bundle in all your streaming subscriptions, iTunes movies and your subscribed channels into a single home screen. There’s arguably a lot to digest here and not a lot of time to digest it, but from what I can tell, the Apple TV app is basically an better version of your cable’s front-end guide. Apple TV will now just sit on top of everything you subscribe to and give you an allegedly better view of what content you have access to. It’s maybe more of a commentary on just how much there is to watch out there and how many ways you can pay for it than it is some sort of revolutionary streamlining of, uh, streaming video.

 

1:52 Tim Cook correctly gripes that there’s so much to watch on so many platforms. Apple’s fix? An updated Apple TV app with Apple TV Channels. Instead of linking your cable subscription, Apple TV channels will let you subscribe to specific channels.

Apple Arcade

 
 

1:50 Apple hasn’t announced a price for this service, but it’ll be available this fall.

 

1:47 Apple Arcade arguably follows the same trend of other gaming platforms like Sony’s Playstation Now, EA’s Origin Access, Microsoft’s Game Pass or Discord Nitro where you pay a monthly fee and get access to a library of games. Apple is promising 100 titles exclusive to Apple Arcade. As we’ve discussed after last week’s announcement of Google Stadia, a subscription service for games is slightly more complicated compared to streaming video.

 

1:43 According to Apple, there have been two types of games on the App Store: Free-to-play or paid. The issue, Apple says, is that some people don’t want to pay the sticker price for paid games, and free-to-play means bringing in ad revenue to pay the bills. The issue, of course, is that Apple only makes money from the former option, and not the latter. So, they’re launching a games subscription service called Apple Arcade.

 

1:41 Tim Cook wants to make gaming even better… through the App Store. Which makes sense, a lot of people play games on their iPhones! 

Apple Card

 
 

1:38 Uhh, apparently you can get a physical card made out of Titanium, which will let you get an additional 1% cash back. Because you can’t release a new credit card without turning it into something that rich people can flaunt. Apple Card will be available this summer.

 

1:35 Apple Card will come with seemingly more transparent payment options. The card will come with no fees. Will let you calculate your monthly payment and see how much interest you’d be carrying. There’s also the option to paying multiple times per month. Apple is partnering with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to make this all happen. Because the card is tied to a device ID, Apple Card will generate a unique card number for every single purchase, arguably making your transactions more secure in the event of a retailer data breach.

 

1:32 Their rewards program is called “Daily Cash.” Make purchases using Apple Card and cash is deposited into an Apple Cash card — which you can seemingly use for anything that accepts Apple Pay. You get 2% cash back on regular purchases, and 3% cash back on anything you buy from Apple.

 

1:30 Apparently all you need to get an Apple Card is just… own an iPhone? The aim here, I guess, is Apple cutting out the credit card companies and just handling everything on their own — which I would guess also includes extending lines of credit? Apple Card will simplify your statements, giving you a “better” look at where your money is going and what your spending looks like. 

 

1:28 How? Apple wants to “simplify” the credit card. It’s called Apple Card. Cook says it’s going to entirely change “the credit card experience.”

 

 1:25 According to Tim Cook, Apple Pay is everywhere. By the end of this year he expects Apple Pay to hit over 40 countries. It’s even expanding to mass transit systems — expanding to Portland, Chicago and New York City “later this year.” But Tim Cook wants to take it further.

Apple News+

 
 

1:22 Okay here it is. $9.99 per month gives you access to everything in Apple News+. Magazines, digital outlets, the LA Times and the WSJ. Which seems like a screaming deal. No telling on how much of a cut actually goes back to publishers or how that’s determined. Even Apple admits that if you were subscribe to each publication individually it’d cost you over $3,000. It’s available today.

 

1:20 In addition to magazines, Apple News+ will also feature digital subscriptions to a handful of online-only outlets, as well as the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. No word yet on how much this will cost.

 

1:20 In a departure from the original Newsstand app, magazines will now release two different editions: one designed for the iPad and one for the iPhone. 

 

1:15 Apple News+ will feature over 300 magazines at launch. According to Apple, it’s intended to be the best magazine-reading experience on any device. This is honestly great news for legacy magazines, potentially giving them a second shot at trying to bring in more digital subscribers that ultimately failed with the launch of the iPad.

 

1:13 This new service? It’s called Apple News+. They’re playing a trailer with journalists talking about the power of the medium. I guess it’s Apple’s Newsstand app reimagined for Apple News?

 

1:12 Tim Cook loves the newsstand. He loves it so much that Apple is bringing magazines to Apple News.

 

1:11 Cook talks about the strength of Apple News: curation. Talented editors sifting through the headlines to bring you the best stories of the day. Wonder if anyone else does that here on the internet?

 

1:07 Cook rifles through all the various services that Apple already offers, such as iCloud, Apple Maps and Siri. Clearly he’s heading somewhere with this…

 

1:06 What is a service? Well, Webster’s dictionary defines a service as…

 

1:05 Tim Cook is on stage. Says that Apple has made some “world-class” hardware. Today, they’re going to announce some “world-class services.”

 
 

12:52 Hey we’re live! They’re playing Carly Rae Jepsen banger “Now That I Found You.” My Bluetooth headphones were turned off, so when I tuned into the livestream my computer blasted it to the entire office. Off to a great start!

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